Introduction by the Editors

This Essay opens a Symposium honoring the contribution of Mari Matsuda to American legal scholarship. The first Asian American female to gain tenure at a U.S. law school, she helped establish a scholarly movement-critical race theory-that reshaped several academic disciplines. She also was the first to propose a new perspective-looking to the bottom-in which judges and activists would evaluate legal practices from the perspective of the least advantaged members of society.[1]

With pathbreaking articles on hate speech,[2] accent discrimination,[3] legal history,[4] affirmative action,[5] feminist legal theory,[6] and the politics of coalition,[7] Matsuda has left her mark on numerous areas of law. Her work has found its way into dozens of casebooks and anthologies. One of her articles, Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim's Story, is the thirty-third most cited article in the history of American law. It occupies a niche slightly below an article by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and just above another by Frank Easterbrook and Daniel Fischel, with the additional distinction of being Michigan Law Review's most-cited article in the journal's history.[8]

Each article in the forthcoming series will examine an aspect of anti-oppression thought or practice. Drawing inspiration from Matsuda's foundational essay on accent discrimination, in which she analyzes society's preference for clerks and salespeople who speak unaccented English, an opening article by Richard Delgado discusses resistance to same-sex marriage, identifying a number of core beliefs that underlie that resistance and subjecting them to analysis. Subsequent articles will build on other works by Matsuda to advance our understanding of social problems and issues, including a number that are just now emerging.

          [1].     Mari J. Matsuda, Looking to the Bottom: Critical Legal Studies and Reparations, 22 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 323 (1987).

          [2].     Mari J. Matsuda, Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim's Story, 87 Mich. L. Rev. 2320 (1989).

          [3].     Mari J. Matsuda, Voices of America: Accent, Antidiscrimination Law, and a Jurisprudence for the Last Reconstruction, 100 Yale L.J. 1329 (1991).

          [4].     Mari J. Matsuda, Law and Culture in the District Court of Honolulu, 1844-1845: A Case Study of the Rise of Legal Consciousness, 32 Am. J. Legal Hist. 16 (1988).

          [5].     Mari J. Matsuda, Who Is Excellent?, 1 Seattle J. for Soc. Just. 29 (2002).

          [6].     Mari J. Matsuda, When the First Quail Calls: Multiple Consciousness as Jurisprudential Method, 14 Women's Rts. L. Rep. 297 (1992).

          [7].     Mari J. Matsuda, Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal Theory out of Coalition, 43 Stan. L. Rev. 1183 (1991).

          [8].     Fred R. Shapiro & Michelle Pearse, The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time, 110 Mich. L. Rev. 1483, 1490 (2012).

   //  VIEW PDF
Volume Archive
Monthly Archive
Tagged Posts

& Other Current Events

Cultivating Inclusion

Twenty-five years ago, law schools were in the developing stages of a pitched battle for the future of legal...

Aftermarketfailure: Windows XP's End of Support

"After 12 years, support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014." So proclaims a Microsoft website with...

Globally Speaking—Honoring the Victims' Stories: Matsuda's Human Rights Praxis

Globally speaking, international law and the vast majority of domestic legal systems strive to protect...

Toward A Multiple Consciousness of Language: A Tribute to Professor Mari Matsuda

I am thrilled to be part of this commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Professor Matsuda's...

House Swaps: A Strategic Bankruptcy Solution to the Foreclosure Crisis

Since the price peak in 2006, home values have fallen more than 30 percent, leaving millions of Americans...